Boeing whistleblower says company dismissed safety concerns

Boeing engineers claim the plane maker ignored safety concerns about the company’s production of 787s and 777s, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Sam Salepour, an engineer who has worked for Boeing for more than a decade, told the FAA that the 787 Dreamliner’s fuselage had sections that were improperly secured and could break after thousands of flights. He said there was, The New York Times reported. first reported.

in Letter of January 19th Salepour told FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker that these problems are the result of changes made to the mounting and securing of sections of the assembly line. The plane’s fuselage is divided into several different-sized parts, all made by different manufacturers, he told the Times.

Lawyers for Salepour told The Hill that their client witnessed Boeing using shortcuts during the manufacturing process that could significantly shorten the lifespan of the 787.

“Our clients identified serious safety concerns and took every step possible to bring those concerns to the attention of Boeing officials,” attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement. Ta. “Despite the known and well-founded issues raised by Mr. Salepour, rather than heed his warnings, Boeing prioritized getting the aircraft to market as soon as possible.”

A Boeing spokesperson told The Hill that changes have been made to the 787 manufacturing process over the years, but that they are not the cause of the problems Salepour alleges.

“This continuous improvement has resulted in improved quality and has not affected the durability or safe lifespan of the aircraft,” the spokesperson said. “Our team’s work includes thorough testing and analysis to ensure updates to the manufacturing process maintain the performance, expected lifespan, and strength of the aircraft.”

When asked to confirm whether the FAA is investigating Salepour’s claims, an FAA spokesperson told The Hill: We strongly encourage everyone in the aviation industry to share this information. We thoroughly investigate all reports. ”

Boeing pushed back against Salepour’s claims about the 787, calling them “inaccurate” and not representative of the “total work” being done at the manufacturer.

“We have full confidence in the 787 Dreamliner,” a Boeing spokesperson told The Hill, adding, “The issues raised are subject to rigorous technical review under the FAA’s supervision.” “It’s happening,” he added. This analysis confirmed that these issues do not pose a safety concern and that the aircraft will have a service life of several decades. ”

Salepour’s lawyers argued that his immediate supervisor and senior Boeing executives “retaliated against him” and threatened to fire him for raising his concerns. Boeing said retaliation is “strictly prohibited” at the company.

The claims come as Boeing Co. faces increased scrutiny over its compliance with safety standards following a mid-air explosion on board an Alaska Airlines flight earlier this year. The explosion occurred 16,000 feet above Oregon when the fuselage panel of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 blew off shortly after takeoff, leaving a gaping hole.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing and the incident raised concerns about the manufacturer’s production and safety quality processes.

The FAA is investigating this incident in conjunction with two other fatal Boeing crashes in 2018 and 2019 involving Boeing 737 Max jetliners that killed 346 people.

The 737 Dreamliner has been the subject of scrutiny before, with Boeing announcing in 2021 that approximately 783 shims were not properly sized and some did not meet skin flatness requirements. Reuters reported. Shims are used to fill small gaps in products.

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